By: Jackie Dour
As the anniversary of the pandemic quickly came and passed, I sit here reflecting on my last year, at home in isolation with a newborn and a toddler. One year. Roughly 100 days of that spent alone as a new family of four. One year full of cries, video chats, minimal support and so much love.
My daughter was born on Monday, March 9, ten days late after a successful membrane sweep. Amongst the craziness that was beginning around the world, I had learned close to her due date that my midwives lost privileges at the hospital we were planning on delivering at and we would most likely need to drive an hour to Stony Brook, for similar care. I’ll leave out the details here, but we made it to Stony Brook and an hour after we grabbed our parking ticket, we were holding our daughter. Our pandemic baby.
If she didn’t come on her own, we would have been looking at a very different delivery being induced that weekend. The first day, we were allowed visitors, the second day the hospital cut visitors down to two dedicated people and we requested an early discharge and got out of there as fast as we could. I heard that by the following week, no visitors or support people, including spouses, were allowed in the hospital. We consider ourselves lucky that my husband was able to be there with me and our son was able to come up and see us that day. I can’t even imagine how first time moms felt delivering on their own during the pandemic.
We lined up a postpartum doula and worked out times for our family to come and support us. My son is a very active 2 year old and we wanted to make sure I had the support when my husband went back to work. All of that support went out the window. We went into full on lockdown, like many others, and many of our close family members met our daughter through our storm door. I can’t even share how many times I cried during the 4th trimester and wished so hard that this would all just go away.
I found help in the support of moms who were going through the same thing and our incredible postpartum doula who checked in on me many more times than some family. I participated in a Fourth Trimester Support Circle and you can usually find me on Monday’s mother circle as well – crying along with strangers who were the only people who understood how I felt raising a newborn in isolation.
I often joke that I’d never spent as much time with my husband as I did isolated during COVID lockdown. I wouldn’t have survived this past year without him and his dedication to his job, meeting our family’s needs and my mental health.
Today, we celebrate everything and cherish our time even more with family and friends. This year has shown me how strong I am and how far I am willing to go to keep my babies safe. With so many unknowns and a newborn, we did whatever we could to keep her and her big brother healthy.
One year. One year of staying safe and home. It’s so easy to get caught up in the experiences we’ve missed out on with others, but instead I try to look at the positives, one year of health, one year of joy. One year of my husband working remotely and being present for every first with our daughter. One year of “home school” and watching my son learn and his vocabulary grow exponentially. One year of extra love and baby snuggles. Among the craziness, we are thriving as a family, and soaking up so much joy that can only come with the hard work of raising your kids.